Re: Graphics vs Text

Subject: Re: Graphics vs Text
From: "Kathleen MacDowell" <kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com>
To: "Mark the Writer" <mdb-career -at- cox -dot- net>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 13:48:48 -0500

Although in general, I'd find it hard to say one is better than the other,
I wonder if online topics might be a special case, in the following sense:

How much information can be conveyed in one figure or illustration or
diagram, vs how much can be conveyed in verbal steps? It seems as if one
might have to page through a large number of screens to get a
complete picture of heavily illustrated online content, whereas in one
screen of steps one could go over it until it was clear.

In writing about complex topics (hard copy), I add
illustrations/figures/screen shots/tables/graphs where I can in an effort to
break up the text and perhaps help out those who are more visually oriented.
In some situations, such as a quick start guide, I'd definitely opt for
heavy illustration, but in a more complete document, one can run into the
page count issue. That said, the department in my current job is moving to
as little and brief (dare I say robotic) documentation as they can, and in
some cases, increasing the number of illustrations.

But overall, illustrations (tables, etc) have the same catches as text--if
they aren't well thought out and organized, they don't offer much.

On 8/15/07, Mark the Writer <mdb-career -at- cox -dot- net> wrote:
> Same thing for anything I do.
> Have used a number of different deliverable formats.
> If the user can make a mistake - add in a graphic to prevent the user
> mistake.
> Mark
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Fred Ridder [mailto:docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com]
> Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 11:03
> To: mdb-career -at- cox -dot- net
> Subject: RE: Graphics vs Text
> Umm, wasn't the OP specifically asking about onine help?
> Your reply seems to be oriented toward manuals.
> >From: "Mark the Writer" <mdb-career -at- cox -dot- net>
> >To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> >CC: baj357 -at- gmail -dot- com
> >Subject: RE: Graphics vs Text
> >Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 10:59:43 -0700
> >
> >
> >RE - When to use graphics ?
> >
> >***
> >
> >I personally think graphics are only mandatory if there is more than a 30
> >percent chance
> >that someone could make a mistake.
> >
> >For instance ...
> >
> >Many software option windows have settings where a user is doomed if they
> >make a simple
> >mistake.
> >
> >So I enter in an example of a correct setting and throw in the screen
> shot.
> >
> >Preference ...
> >
> >As far as charts and line art go - I like to include personally.
> >
> >I am an engineer that writes for engineers usually - and we live on
> >graphics.
> >
> >Ask an engineer would they prefer the identical information in a block of
> >text or a graphic -
> >and they will ask for the graphic.
> >
> >I typically give them both and use "as you can see in Figure 5, bla bla
> >bla."
> >
> >Mark
> >
> >
> >
> --
> Kathleen MacDowell

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

RE: Graphics vs Text: From: Mark the Writer
RE: Graphics vs Text: From: Mark the Writer

Previous by Author: Re: Automating repetitive task?
Next by Author: Re: Guess what: we suck!
Previous by Thread: RE: Graphics vs Text
Next by Thread: Fwd: Graphics vs Text

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads